[SECC] RTTY Roundup AA4LR Single Op LP

Bill Coleman aa4lr at arrl.net
Mon Jan 7 10:04:52 EST 2013

                   ARRL RTTY Roundup

Call: AA4LR
Operator(s): AA4LR
Station: AA4LR

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): 8.1

Band  QSOs
  80:   87
  40:  127
  20:   58
  15:   16
  10:   13
Total:  301  State/Prov = 48  Countries = 18  Total Score = 19,866

Club: South East Contest Club


R7000 at 3m high
80/40m dipole at 10m high
160m Inverted L with 8 radials

Elecraft K3/100 with KAT3 running 100 watts
Acer 1420P laptop
M-Audio Transit
Keyspan USA-19HS USB-to-Serial


A part-time effort from Floyd County. Switched a few things around in the micro-shack to make this work.

The K3/100 is new -- just received for Christmas from my XYL (she's the absolute best). I ordered the KAT3 as soon as I had it built, and it arrived just in time for the contest. I don't have much in the way of antennas, so the tuner helped me make do with what I have.

The Acer is better known as the PDC 09 laptop. It's not bad for a Windows machine, but it had a broken screen about a year ago when it took a tumble off a desk. I replaced it for about $70, but the replacement screen does not have the touch interface -- so no Tablet PC. That's ok, I'd rather use the iPad anyway. I had previously been using an ancient Toshiba 1400-series laptop that ran Windows 98. Ugh. The 800x600 screen was seriously limiting as well.

I wanted to shake down this equipment, and I ran into the same problem as before -- I would randomly get a blue screen of death (BSOD). Turns out this appears to be due to a defective driver for a Keyspan USA-19HS USB to Serial device. Works like a champ on MacOS X, but it doesn't like Windows 7. Even though I have the latest driver installed, it still fails. I've ordered a different manufacturer's USB to Serial device, using the Prolific chipset. We'll see if that helps.

I also ran into a problem that I could not get line out audio out of the Transit. Not sure what that's about. I ended up routing the transmit audio through the laptop line out jack. That worked.

All of this cost me about two hours of contest time. I just didn't have a chance to work all the bugs out before the contest started.

The contest itself was a lot of fun. Nice to hear activity on 10m. I didn't get a chance to spend a lot of time on 15m. Things seemed to close down on the high bands quickly after sunset. The dipole and inverted L worked extremely well on 80 and 40m. The inverted L was surprisingly good on 15m, too. The R7000 wasn't good for much of anything. 40 and 80m were the money bands -- I found I could run pretty effectively with just 100 watts. 

The K3/100 was a dream to work with. Even with just the stock crystal filter, the DSP has tons of QRM-fighting power. Nearby stations would disappear by cranking down on the WIDTH control, and the DUAL PB feature got a workout (not that I recommend leaving it on all the time -- too easy to find a "clear" frequency that's actually straddling the tones of some other station). Cranked out 100 watts of RTTY for hours and the case got barely warm. Not at all like trying to hold the K2/100 together running 50 watts with supplemental cooling. I love the FINE 1Hz tuning, and the RIT that actually works. And having the RTTY display on VFO B wasn't bad, either.

Ended up working 45 of 50 states. Just missed ND, VT, ID, MT, WY.

Posted using 3830 Score Submittal Forms at: http://www.hornucopia.com/3830score/

Bill Coleman, AA4LR, PP-ASEL        Mail: aa4lr at arrl.net
Web: http://boringhamradiopart.blogspot.com
Quote: "Not within a thousand years will man ever fly!"
           -- Wilbur Wright, 1901

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